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Preparing and planning the perfect picnic buffet can be easy if you follow these tips:

1. Buy colorful paper plates, napkins, plastic cutlery and cups. These are not only attractive, but are easy to simply throw away after each use.

2. If you live in an area where mosquitoes or other bugs are a problem, you might consider lighting several citronella candles and placing them strategically around the picnic area.

3. Set up a table beside the grill(s) so the chef can have a handy place to hold his/her utensils and the food.

4. If your guest list is going to be plentiful, cook with two or more barbecue grills so that everyone can eat the main meal at the same time.

5. Make sure that you have plenty of seating for everyone. In case the picnic tables are not large enough to accomodate everyone, simply bring out lawn chairs or folding chairs. In a pinch, kitchen chairs will work too. TV trays are a help for those sitting in chairs and not at a table.

6. Set up several tables for the foods and let everyone serve themselves. Place the main dishes on one table, desserts on another, and so forth. On one table, provide plenty of cubed-cheese, cut-up fresh vegetables, potato chips, pretzels, etc., so your hungry guests can happily munch while they are waiting on the main meal to be grilled.

7. Keep salads and other cold foods in a cooler or refrigerator until serving time. Never allow cold foods to sit out exposed to the hot sun as harmful bacteria can form in hot temperatures.
Place the cold food table in the shade or create your own shade by using a beach umbrella.

8.Have plenty of iced-cold drinks, as well as plenty of ice, on hand to quench your guests' thirsts. Keep the drinks in a cooler or refrigerator.

9. Place a garbage can with a liner and a lid away from the eating area, but close enough so that guests can use it. Be sure to keep it covered so it doesn't attract unwanted bugs and flying pests.

10.When planning the menu, make sure to include veggie burgers on the menu for those on your guest list who would rather have those instead.

11. Hamburgers and hot dogs are American standards for a picnic or barbecue, along with potato salad, and the like. While those are tasty, popular favorites, you might want to try adding some new recipes to your picnic and let your family and guests see your creative s1de!

Some recipes to consider are fruit shishkabobs, barbecued tofu, beer-batter bratwursts, and iced coffee latte. Dessert lovers will drool over frosted gelatine salad, angel food cake frosted with whipped topping and covered with sliced, fresh strawberries, key lime pie, or pina colada brownies.

12. Whatever you decide to place on the menu for the big day, remember to take the time to sit back and relax and enjoy the ever-pleasant company of family and friends!